Sanskrit & Sanskriti (Culture)

                                                         

                                                                  (Interactive session on 12.01.2014)

                                                           Keynote address by Dr. Kalyan Chakravarty

                        (Other participant speakers: Mr. Ashok Kumar Sengupta, Dr. Santosh Ganguly, Mr. Paritosh Bandopadhyay,                                         Mr.Sanjay Dasgupta, Mr. Somnath Sarkar, Mr. Gautam Kanjilal, Ms. Mitali Ghosh & Ms. Anjoo B. Chaudhury.

                                                             [Devotional song by Ms. Jayanti Das Gupta]

                                                  Anchor, Introduction & Conclusive Remarks: Asish K.Raha

 

INTRODUCTION

Sanskrit happens to be one of the ancient living languages in the world today, even though the number of Sanskrit speaking persons is on the decline. Many even in India wherein it is believed to have originated are inclined to dub it as a dead language. On the other hand, space scientists like Rick Briggs of NASA Research Center is of the view that Sanskrit is most suited among all known languages to be adopted for artificial intelligence or computer, particularly for use in space science, for reason of its brevity, simplicity, grammatical and phonetical superiority over other languages. Understandably NASA has taken initiatives in that direction.

Antiquity of Sanskrit is still an unresolved puzzle for various reasons. Scholars are widely divergent in their view about its origin. For reason of its strong affinity with Greek, Latin, or for that matter with Gothick and Celtick languages, and even Persian, though blended with a different idiom, many scholars are inclined to ascribe same origin to all these languages. Some others, considering the wonderful structure, grammar and refineness of Sanskrit vis-a-vis Gothick, Celtick and Persian languages are of the opinion that Sanskrit was the Mother of those ancient languages, which was transmitted or spread to other regions from India through maritime commerce or/and cultural exchanges. The prevalent view, which was given currency by Philologists like Sir William Jones in his book ‘The Sanskrit Language’ (1786), however, is that Sanskrit and other ancient languages mentioned above were Proto-Indo-European (PIE) languages. Even Persian language was added to the same family. Some researchers have even ascribed common source of origin to this PIE to a more ancient language, since extinct. Sri Aurobindo subscribed to this theory.

According to popular belief, two large highly civilized continents, named Atlantis and Lemuria were inundated by the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific/Indian Ocean respectively around 10,000 B.C. The said common origin of PIE could have been the spoken language of those two continents which had gone under the oceans. Some orthodox scholars of Sanskrit in India believe that Sanskrit was the language of the Devas that was inherited by humans with all its purity and splendour, which in course of time got distorted and smirched.

Be that as it may, while the need for further research into the origin, growth and utility of Sanskrit as a language cannot be gainsaid, its fitness or suitability for adaption as the computer language or the language for Artificial Intelligence has added a welcome dimension to justify its revival as the language of the future.

‘Sanskriti’ means culture or value system. Even though language ordinarily happens to be one of the ingredients or components of culture, in this instance, the word ‘sanskriti’ is clearly a derivative of Sanskrit, the language. This suggests an extra-ordinary relationship between the two. The reason why culture of ancient Indians, called Aryans, got identified with a language they spoke was that they called this language a Divine language or ‘Deva Bhasha’ and the script when it came into currency subsequently as ‘Deva nagari’. The Vedas which they believed to have fallen from God’s mouth, and from which their entire civilization had originated, were composed in Sanskrit. Therefore, Sanskrit being the medium of the Vedas to which the Aryan civilization was sourced was obviously the source of ‘sanskriti’ or culture as well, in the early Vedic age. In other words, all those who knew Sanskrit and spoke that language were known as Aryans who alone were held as cultured persons in the early Vedic age.

Let us now look back to the achievements of Sanskrit in the fields of art, literature and philosophy, which, taken together, epitomized ‘sanskriti’ in India, since the time of the Vedas.

 

Erosion of Sanskritic tradition:

The Sanskritic traditions provide a beacon to benighted humanity, to regain homologic in place of hegemonic values, to realize that human being is only a part, not the weaver of the web of nature, to promote coexistence rather than co-annihilation. These enable us  to see the phenomena of accelerated species extinction, climate change, ethnic strife, genocide, destruction of the co-evolutionary interdependence of organic and inorganic communities, marginalization and impoverishment of the majority of humanity as consequences of substitution of power centric philosophies for Sanskritic and analogous traditions of companionate and cooperative living. Symptoms of the malaise resulting from erosion of the Sanskritic traditions are many. Life is being lost in living, wisdom in knowledge, knowledge in information, and exchange value is being placed over use value. All sacred and ecological values are being reduced to production categories. Contextual, oral, intangible, ecology wisdom traditions, held trans-generationally by custodial communities, are being textualized and commoditized into a procession of simulacra in electronic media in a society of spectacle, driven by a consciousness industry. Community values of guardianship of natural resources, obligations to ancestors, posterity and spirit are being steadily eroded.  The variety and complexity of biological and cultural forms which provide sustenance to human and non human communities are being superseded by radical simplification. Signs are being divorced from referents, shape from meaning, stage from habitat, arts from life. The non extractive covenant with nature and the sustainable materials economy based on intrinsic, ultimate and transcendental values, celebrated in Sanskritic traditions, are being superseded by a philosophy of utilization, objectification and appropriation, based on instrumental, proximate and existential values.  It is possible, from the standpoint of the traditions, to question the particularistic roots of the teleology of technological progress which claims to fulfill its telos, after Hegel, to sublate, absorb and supersede cultures, nourished by the Sanskritic traditions, as inadequate symbols found in oscillation and fermentation rather than in reconciliation and identity with the itinerary of spirit.

This is a time when human beings have started making use of nature, instead of holding it sacred and inviolable. The diversity and interdependence of species and integrity of planetary ecosystems are being destroyed by the profligate human approach of mining nature’s capital. The more educated and developed the country, the higher its human development index, the more unsustainable its style of production and consumption, the higher its carbon foot print. There is an unprotected and unequal flow of knowledge and resources from gene rich countries to capital rich countries, from rural to urban regions, from the unconnected poor to the connected rich, across the Infobahn. Genetic uniformity is being promoted through hybrid and mono cultural crops, ignoring the danger of such overdependence in case of blight or an epidemic. One quarter of the human population consumes four fifths of the world’s resources, two fifths of its food resources, 40% of its annual net photosynthesis production. The collective right to unfixed ideas, held by majority of humanity in rural hinterland is being replaced by individual, intellectual property right to fixed expressions. In consequence of the consequent erosion of human knowledge, skill, memories and natural resources, humanity is hastening its own destruction, without the benefit of a comet shower, nuclear winter or a geological cataclysm. In Swami Vivekananda’s words, addressed to sister Nivedita, ‘we are like cattle, driven to the slaughter house under the whip, hastily nibbling a bit of grass on roadside’. 

 

Identity and Difference:

The idea of the human subject as the bearer of telos to control rest of the world has been expressed by many ways as the Absolute Spirit of Hegel, Ego Cogito of Descartes, the Monad of Leibniz or Historical Materialism of Marx. Depredation of the earth, standardization of humanity, conflagrations of war, genocide and violence, the curse of social injustice and economic inequality are consequences of such attempts to guide the world by monolithic systems or absolute ideas. The traditions pronounce that, from death to death one goes, who sees disunity here (Mṛtyoh sa mṛtyumāpnotiya iha nāneva paśyati. Bṛhadāranyakopaniṣad 4.19). The traditions conceive the world as a theophany and seek cultivation rather than domination of nature, in all its diverse differences, for advancing health and well being of all. It hails one, the supreme poet, hero, father, mother (Kavitama, vīratama, śāntatama, pitṛtama, matṛtama, vipratama), in whom the universe is united as in a nest (yatra viśvam bhavatyekanīḍaṃ. Yajurveda 32.8) The world bears people of diverse languages, religious rites (Janaṁ vibhṛtī Bahudhā vivācasam nānādharmāṇam pṛthivī yathaukāśam. Atharvaveda 12.1.45). The one presiding over the universe is invoked at once as the friend, the stranger, the divine, the human (saṁdeśyah, videśyah, daiva, mānuṣah. Atharvaveda 4.16.8). Its unity is not violated by diverse descriptions (ekam sadviprāḥ Bahudhāḥ vadanti. Ṛgveda 1.164.46. That one who, though of one color, assumes many colors, pregnant with meaning, by virtue of manifest powers. Yaḥ ekovarṇo Bahudhā śaktiyogādvrarṇānanekānnihitārtho dadhāti. Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 1.1). The universal brotherhood of humanity is established in the maternal womb, and by shared divinity (bhrātṛtvam… maturgarbhe bharāmahe. Ṛgveda 8.83.8; Gṛhaṁ Kṛtvā martyam devāh puruṣamāvi Īśan. Artharvaveda 11.8.18). Hence, all humanity, of all ages, are addressed as friends. Love and yearning are transmitted to all regions. Long life, happiness, freedom and plenty are desired for all in āyuṣyāni and pauṣṭikāni sūktāni. Unity of mind, heart and action, sahṛdayam, sāmānasyam, avidveṣam, is desired in moving, speaking and thinking together (Ṛgveda 2.21.6; 6.12.5; 8.68; 10.18.3; 10.101.2.4; Yajurveda 32.8). King Aśoka assumes the responsibility to promote compassion, truth, human relations, according to time hallowed traditions. yarisā porānāpakiti, welfare and happiness for all, sarvalokahitam, growth of essentials of all sects, sala-badi siyati sarva-pāṣaḍanam and declares the entire humankind as his children, save munise pajā mama (Erraguḍi Minor Edict 2, Shāhbāzgarhi Rock Edict 7,12, Girṇār Rock Edict 6, Dhauli Rock Edict).

 

Concord in place of Discord:

The Sanskritic tradition provides a consensual platform for intercultural dialogue on the strength of its inclusive content of ethical conduct.  The Buddhist saṁgha of sharesmen was set up as an antidote to the misery, anomie of insular, exclusive individualism.  Its message of all embracing compassion, karuṇā, interconnectedness of all phenomena in pratītyasumutpāda, heroic, rightful exertion, majjhimapanthā, moderation, provided a way out of the morass of meaningless ritualism.  In anekāntavāda, syādvāda and aparigraha, Jainism came up with relativist, rationally critical, possibilistic, non exploitative alternatives to absolutist pursuits of power, pelf and ideology.  The adherence to abstractions in orthodox Brahminical philosophy and the heterodox Buddhist and Jaina philosophies was gradually leavened by surging devotionalism, to yield the Bhāgavata dhvajas, pillars of devotion, like the 2nd century Heliodorus pillar at Vidiśā. The word of Buddha, ātmadipoh bhava, be a lamp unto yourself, or the statement in Mahāpurāṇa 4.65, which identifies vāni, daiva, Iśvara and karman, putting action on top of all, find response in Yogavāśiṣṭha, which prizes puruṣakāra over niyati. Na daivam na ca karmāni, na dhanāni, na bāndhavāh, śaranam bhavabhītānām svaprayatnād nṛṇām.  Nothing, apart from their own efforts, neither fate, nor physical movement, wealth nor relations can help people, who are afraid of this world. Yogavāśiṣṭha 5.13.8.  Further, a bad deed done yesterday can be converted into a good one by pauruṣa, hyah kukarmādya yatnena prāyati hi sukarmatām. Yogavāśiṣṭha 6. (i) 51.47.  The clarion call attributed to Dhanvantari, the master physician: na tu aham kāmaye rājyam na bhogān na sukhāni ca, kāmāye duhkhārtānām prāṇinām ārtināśanam.  I covet no kingdom, enjoyment, pleasure.  I want to remove the pain of suffering humanity (Satyavrat Shastri 2006.  Discovery of Sanskrit Treasures, Vol 5. Yash Publications 134p).  The principle of mutuality and coexistence is established in the words ātmanah pratikulāni pareṣām na samācaret(Vyāsasubhāṣitasaṅgraha, verse 1.7). The essence of human relations and dharma has been announced again and again as ācāra, śīla, vṛtta, good conduct, which holds society together.  The essence of dharma has been elucidated as fortitude, forgiveness, self control, non appropriation, purity, regulation of senses, wisdom, knowledge, avoidance of anger, dhṛti, kṣamā, dama, steyam, śaucam, indrīyanigraha, dhiḥ, vidyā, satyam, akrodha (Manusmṛtī 6.9), ahiṃsā, bhūtapṛyahitehā, nonviolence, urge to do good to all beings (Bhāgavatapurāṇa 11.17.21).  In practice, these qualities are translated as dayā, dāne, sace, socave, mādave, sādhave (Delhi / Topra pillar inscription of Aśoka, line 12). The attribute of dāna is explained in the words, Kevalāgho bhavati kevalādi. One who eats alone, eats sin alone (Ṛgveda 10.117.6).  Life of such quality and activity is based on character, the loss of which leads to loss of everything else. 

Even royal conduct is based on these principles of mutuality.  Rājan is so called because of his responsibility to please his subjects, prakṛtirañjanāt.  Ācāra, śīila, vṛtta are foundational precepts of Aśokan edicts, as they were in epics, to govern relations of human beings.  The goal of right thinking and action is defined as welfare of others. Paropakārāya satām vibhūtaya (Nītiśataka 71). Vipadi dhairyam athābhyudaye kṣamā, sadasi vākpaṭutā, yudhi vikramaḥ  Fortitude in adversity, forbearance in prosperity, eloquence in assembly, valour in battlefield are the hallmark of leaders of humanity (Rāmāyaṇa 2 18.91). The Aśokan inscriptions stress good conduct as dharma, including care for parents, compassion for creatures, non violence, self introspection, truthfulness and purity. Thus, his Girṇār rock edict in prākṛt directly translates into Sanskrit as anālambhah prāṇinām, abhihiṁsā bhūtānām, jñātinām sampratipatti. Abstention from killing of living beings, nonviolence, consideration for with and kin.  His Topra (Delhi) pillar edict speaks of all pasṇavan, bahukalyāṇam, the pursuit of the least sinfulness, and the maximum welfare of people as his goal. His Rāmpurvā pillar edict says jivena jive no pusitaviye. Living beings must not be fed with living beings. In another Rampurvā pillar edict, he says ‘I think of how best I may bring happiness to all the people, relatives and neighbours, far or near. The Garuḍa pillar inscription of Heliodorus at Vidiśā speaks of three essential ingredients of good conduct as self control, sacrifice and vigilance.

 

Nature – Culture Harmony:

It is necessary, for averting the day of reckoning, to go back to the Sanskritic tradition of sacramental contracts between human, non human and divine families that epitomize natural elements and forces. It is necessary to recall and replenish this tradition to maintain the world as a self regulating biological holon, an ecohouse which sustains and equilibrates itself like a heating unit with a thermostat, through a cybernetic flow, exchange and biogeochemical cycling and recycling of energy and materials. We have to reaffirm the affective world view, enshrined by the Sanskritic tradition, in which the universe is not indifferent but sympathetic to humanity, in which the idea of ṛta, shivān, satya, dharma, good law and regularity, controls capricious or aleatory interests, and, may be adopted to changes in time and space (Ṛta navya jayatam, Ṛgveda 1.105,15. Ṛtumarṣanti sindhavah satyam tatāna sūrya. Ṛgveda 1.105,12. Satyam vṛhad ṛtam ugram tapo brahma yajñaḥ pṛthivīm dhārayanti. Atharvaveda 12.1.1). A hymn to mother earth says, ‘may Pṛthivī make ample space and room for us. What I dig from thee, earth, may rapidly spring and grow again. Let me not pierce through the vitals of thy heart (Atharvaveda 12.1.1). The cycle of creation is described as proceeding from the sun, through the cloudburst, to the growth of medicinal plants, food crops and lifebreath (Mahānārāyaṇopaniṣad, Jñānasādhanānirūpaṇm); or, from the waters to the fire, waters being designated as medicinal (Taittirīyāraṇyakam, Aruṇapraśna 26,111). Paśupati is worshipped as residing in all animals, plants and topographical features (Taittirīya Saṁhitā, Śrī Rudrapraśna). In life and death, the plants, waters and elements become the names of all creatures (Ṛgveda 3, 55.5; 10, 16.1-6). All rulers have followed Aśoka’s example of planting trees, creating water bodies and upgrading the environment as part of this dharma of sustenance of the environment.

Indian arts speak from the Sanskritic traditions to address the nutritive, therapeutic, generative forces of the universe. Raudrīgāyatrī in Śatarūdrīya offers a vāgyajña to the myriad forms from all quarters of earth, air and sky that reside in Paśupati.  The equinoctical and solstitial movements in the solar universe, cloud burst, rivers, mountains, oceans play a role as dramatis personae in the vast theatre of the universe.  Śatarūdrīya 16.31 worships Śiva in waves, floods, clouds, lightning, storm, grass, foam, trees, herbs and shoots (C. Śivaramamūrti 1975. Śatarūdrīya: Vibhūti of Śiva’s Iconography, Delhi, Abhinav) Ṛgveda 10.16.6. beseeches Agni and Soma to restore the limbs of ancestors, gnawed by beasts. Lakṣmī resides in oṣadhis, vanaspatis, kalpavṛkṣas, medicinal plants, trees, wishfulfilling creepers, as pūṇyagandhā, of sacred fragrance, as araṇyānī, a sylvan deity (C. Śivaramamūrti 1982. Sri Lakṣmī in Indian Art and Thought, Delhi, Karan Publications: 34-35, 61, 80-81).  Varuṇa, Agni, Soma are addressed as ṛtasya gopa, guardian of order, and dhṛtavrata, of fixed ordinances (A.A. Macdonnel 1897. Vedic Mythology Repint, Varanasi, Indological Book House 1963: 26) Ṛgveda 7.33, requires every Naciketas, organism, to appease the God of death, atop the sahasraudumbara, to which each paśu is bound as to a stake.  Atharvaveda 10.8.9. identifies the Droṇa kalaśa, when full, as Viśvarūpa.  Sixty thousand Sagaraputras are connected with the diurnal movement of the earth.  Tripathagā Gaṅgā represents the yogic granthis and tīrtha, and offers symbolic ablution to cleanse and transform the bhaktas, before they enter garbhagṛha. Baudhāyana Śrauta sūtra 10.13 propitiates Agni in the plants to cure diseased limbs.  A sarvauṣadhapātra, bowl with all medicinal herbs, is offered to the adhvarya, while preparing the field for Agni.  The temple is conceived as śyenaciti, an eagle with outspread wings, and, as a sacrificial altar, a funeral cairn, to hold the ashes from psychophysical combustion. The altar, known as svayamatṛṇṇa, is the site for immolation of the little self of the puppet to the great self of the puppeteer.  Entire nature cries as Śakuntalā leaves the forest for her husband’s home in Abhijñāna Śākuntalam of Kalīdāsa.

The Sanskritic traditions govern the saṁskāras, the deśa, kāla and jatyācāras, territorial, familial and sectarian customs in the ceremonies, accompanying the rites of passage from life to death, conceived as sacramental contracts between human and divine families for metrical self integration, chandobhiratmānāmsaṁskaraṇa, by imitation, anukaraṇa, of divine forms, daivyāni śilpāni (Aitareya Brāhmaṇa VI 27).  In these rites, all elements in nature are invited to participate at garbhādhāna, the pre natal rite of conception, and all gods are invited to ready the womb and set the embryo (Ṛgveda 10, 184). In Prājāpatya ceremony for puṁsavana, heavenly plants are invoked for quickening a male child as father, the earth as the mother and the ocean as the root (Atharvaveda 3. 23. 6). The four cardinal quarters of the earth and the sky are requested to assist in the jātakarma, birth ceremony.  Nāmakaraṇa, naming, is done after stars, deities and elements of order, goodness and beauty in nature.  The Gāyatrī mantra accompanies upanayana, conferral of the sacred thread, for initiation into a new personality, a second birth, along with the utterance, Thou, O Agni, are inflamed by wood, I am inflamed by life, insight, vigour, cattle, holy lustre (Pārāsara Gṛhyasūtra 11.4). Vedic ślokas place marriage on rock girt foundations; gṛbhṇāmi saubhagatvāya hastaṁ mayā patyā Jaradaṣṭir yathāsa Goddess, I hold your right hand in my right one for all time to come (Ṛgveda, X. 85.36). Amoham asmi sā tvam asmy sāmāham asmhiṛk tvam, dyaur aham pṛthvī tvam. If I am the breath, you are the speech, but if you are the speech, I am the breath. If I am Sāmaveda, you are Ṛgveda. I am heaven and you are the earth (Atharvaveda, 14.2.71). In Antyeṣṭi, or funeral ceremony, the body is purified by fire and water, to facilitate its passage beyond. The bamboo staff is used in samāvartana, the end of studentship. Udumbara, fig branch, is applied to the neck of the wife in sīmantonnayana, parting of hair, and a stone is mounted to make the marriage firm. In Aitareya Upaniṣad II. 1-4, fire enters the mouth of Puruṣa as speech, wind enters his nostrils as breath, sun enters eyes as sight, heavenly quarters enter ears as hearing, plants and trees enter the skin as hairs, the moon enters heart as mind, death enters the navel as out breath, water enters the virile member as semen.  All living beings are conceived as agnīṣomīya paśus, that combine fire and water principles through the systalic and diastolic process. The sap in the trees, honey in the flower, blood and semen in the body, milk in the cow, rain in the sky epitomize a rotary cycle of waters between earth and heaven.  In the Upanishadic chant, the divine couple is seen as congeneric:  Rudra Sūrya, Umā chāyā; Rudra yajña, Umā vedi, Rudra vahni, Umā svāhā; Rudra vṛkṣa, Umā valli, Rudra puṣpa, Umā gandha. The sun and shadow, sacrifice and altar, flame and oblation, tree and creeper, flower and the fruit become one in Urnāsahita Śiva.

 

Body as Bridge to Universe:

This indelible connection between nature and culture in the family of human and nonhuman communities is captured in Indian arts through a process of transformation of nature through culture, to harmonize with the rhythm, patterns and designs in nature, celebrated in Sanskritic traditions. Once every sense partakes of the supreme being, Arts, having to cater to senses, have to commune with him. As Chāndogya Upaniṣad 3. 14 says sarvam khalvidam Brahma manomayaḥ, prāṇaśarīro ākāśātamā sarvakāmah, sarvagandhah, sarvarasah. Everything is Brahman. Pervaded by mind, breath, and pervading all action, all desire, all smell, all flavour. In the best and finest expressions in arts, there is a balance of serenity and energy, contemplative fervor and arrested action. This balance is achieved through a participation, a communion with the essence of natural processes rather than through a pinch beck imitation of their expressions in concrete physical shapes.  Hence, Indian art is understood through lakṣaṇas or canons of beauty and accuracy of form and function, in fidelity to archetypes, rather than in conformity with anatomical attributes of physical prototypes (Figs.   ).  It is this unity of sign and signifier that makes for the simultaneous articulation of the sensual and spiritual elements in arts. Indian art is not meant for mere entertainment, alleviation of anxiety or utility, utkaṇṭhā vinodana, vyutpatti mātra or vyāpāramātra, but for rectification of personality, to make it fit for tasting of ideal beauty, rasāsvādāna, akin to the tasting of godliness, Brahmāsvādasahodara (Sāhitya Darpaṇa 3. 2-3).  This is why art in the Sanskritic tradition is a means for dispensing with art, through identification of the subject with the object of devotion through a graduation from sālokya and sāmīpya to sāyujya. In order to worship God, one must become God, na Deva Devam arcayet.  Śivo bhutvā Śivam yajet.  The tālamāna or canons of proportion are dedicated to a search for a principle of order, ṛta, underlying the universe, which animates the body of the artist or the temple, as the body and house of God, through prāṇa or the vibrant breath of life (Greek pneuma or Chinese Ch’i).  Indian art, inspired by the Sanskritic tradition, does not try, like Graeco Roman ‘classical’ art, to attract attention of the spectator to its outer surfaces. Instead, it invites the bhakta, the devotee, fragmented in personality and alienated from universal consciousness by phenomenal forces, to become avibhakta, integrated with the noumenal, through a rectification of consciousness.  The suggestion, tat tvam asi, Śvetaketo, thou art that, Śvetaketu, in the Upaniṣad, is a suggestion for uniting micro nuclear personal consciousness with universal consciousness. Which is why, it is said of Indian art, raṅge na vidyate citram, tattvam hyakṣaravarjitam (Laṅkāvatāra sūtra 2.17-18). The picture is not in colours, the supreme element being beyond physical description.

In the permeation and transformation of nature through culture, the Sanskritic tradition is articulated through the yogic images of Buddha, Jina, Śiva (Figs.  ), and provides a bridge between this world and the world invisible, pratyakṣa and parokṣa.  The transient saṁsāra provides access to mokṣa, liberation, whereby saṁsāra mokṣāyate.  Kulārṇavatantra defines the way of the yogīs as invisible like the bird track in the high sky or the course of the fish in the deep sea.  It adds that to act not, akriyā, is the highest worship or pūjā; to observe silence the noblest recitation; not to think the supreme meditation, dhyāna; not to desire, the supreme fulfillment (Heinrich Zimmer 1926/ 1984 (trans). Artistic Form and Yoga in the Sacred Images of India.  Princeton University Press, 225, note 46, IX, 232-33).  The Yogic form of arrested breath is not to be explained through internal relationship of organic parts or a visual catalogue of grammatical and syntactical features.  It has to be understood as a workshop for intense activity of celebration and concentration, as symbolic of dynamic repose, or withdrawal of senses from the world, prior to world affirmative action. The Yogaśarīra is assumed for lokasaṃgraha, collective welfare. It is described variously as praṇava tanu, kāraṇa or vaindava deha in tantra, prasāda, prema or rasadeha in Vaiṣṇavism, videha kaivalya in sāṅkhya, dharmakāya in Buddhism, the body being retained by the Yogī out of compassion for benighted, unredeemed humanity, even after he/she has broken fetters of ignorance or attachment to the body.  The yogī is an āntarika agnihoṭr, ātmayāji, who has given up retas, passions, in penance, tapas, in an internal sacrificial fire. He illustrates the principle, havirvaih dikṣitah. The initiate is the oblation. He has attained ānanda, the joy of release, from the thraldom of desire, autonomy, for acting with an everliving, ever throbbing fire of creative exaltation.  He illustrates the Upanishadic principle, ānandam Brāhmanaḥ vidvān na vibheti kutaścana. (Taittirīya Upaniṣad 4). One suffused with the joy of living in Brahman is not afraid of anything  Rāma, Kṛṣṇa, Buddha, Mahāvīra, Śiva Dakṣiṇamūrti are seen in the traditions as yogis, guides, redeemers, benefactors, advancing on chaos and darkness, and not as cowards fleeing before a revolution, or solitaries cloistered in sanctuaries. They embody samatvam, equanimity, in adversity or prosperity, samadarśinatvam, impartiality for the small or tall, freedom from affections of rāga, dveṣa, moha, passion, malice, delusion, and, in Buddhism, from rati, pṛti, tṛṣṇa, the three daughters of Māra.  They see and act after nature, in its own manner of operation, to enforce a sympathetic compulsion, a desirable consummation of its forces, for the good of all.  Yoga being a process of psychic transformation and sacrifice of eros in thanatos, the Buddha image demonstrates the formula, yah kleśaḥ sā bodhi, yah saṁsāraḥ tannirvāṇam.  The world flux and extinction, the void and plenum, dharma cakra and bhava cakra are one.  The cakra, in the procession and recession of the spokes, hub and felly, denotes both pravṛtti and nivṛtti(Figs.   ).

The Jina, in kāyotsarga mudrā(Figs.   ), enjoyment as road to renunciation has attained dementation of discriminative consciousness. Buddha in Māradharṣaṇa (Figs.) exemplifies not conquest but transfiguration of Māra into Buddha.  Similarly, Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata offers lessons in renunciation, transcending the din and turbulence of battles and victories, failures and hatreds.  Sītā is won to be given up.  Pāṇḍavas win a pyrrhic victory to start off on mahāprasthāna. Goethe, in an appreciation of Abhijñāna Śākuntalam explains this yogabhogātmaka philosophy in the words,” wouldst thou, the young year’s blossom and the fruit of its decline, wouldst thou, the earth and the heaven, in one sole single name combine, I name thee Śakuntalā and all at once is said. In Kumārasambhavam, Pārvatī transforms herself from a resplendent beauty bedecked in glittering ornament and garment, into an ascetic, wasted in penance, to win Śiva niyamakṣāmamukhī dḥrtaikaveṇi. Iyeṣa sā kartrumavandhyarūpatām samādhimāsthāya vapubhiratmani. (Emaciated by penance, wearing a single braid, she wished to ensure, through penance, that her beauty was not barren.) In Meghadūtam, the cloud passes from the temporal world of ephemeral beauty to the Alakāpuri of eternal beauty. Buddhist vaipulyasūtras like Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra or Suvarṇaprabhāsottamasūtra address the theme of the ultimate fulfillment of kingship in the sacrifice of life, limb, flesh, wealth, kingdom, kith and kin for the redemption of humanity. The goal is transformation of the body corporeal into body spiritual, of nirmāṇakāya into dharmakāya, after the model of Cakravartī Dharmarāja Buddha, who preaches śūnyatā, but practices karuṇā, who stays on to teach people of the world even after attaining enlightenment.  He pulls his mind from the body like a reed from its sheath, to use the words of Dighanikāya, and becomes the transcendent victor in gambhirebuddhagocare.

The artistic endeavor in Sanskritic traditions is a graduation from a state of wretchedness to a state of blessedness.  In this endeavor, parts of the body are not organically related, to function biologically, but ideally related, to function as meditative vessels. Hence, Yaśodhara, in his 12-13th C. A.D. commentary on the 2nd C. A.D. text of Kāmasūtra on six limbs of painting, does not mention rūpa bheda as fragmentation of forms, as misunderstood by Bachhofer, but as differentiation of types, as explained by Coomaraswamy. His śloka goes like this: rūpabhedah pramāṇāni, bhāvalāvaṇyayojanam, sādṛśyam, varṇikabhaṅga, iti citram ṣaḍāngakam.  The six canons of proportions embody sentiment and charm, correspondence of formal and pictorial elements.  It is only when the art is close to its source of inspiration and retains the exaltation of the direct, Intuitive apprehension of reality, conveyed by great masters of the law, like Buddha, Christ, Mahāvīra or Saṅkara, that the art is successful in expressing an intimation of the joy of such vision partially, through its tantras, mantras and yantras.  The unity of figures of speech and figures of thought is directed towards effecting a metamorphosis, from the unfree state of Jīva to the free state of Śiva.  The worshipper accesses and unites with pratimās, cakras, maṇḍalas, the temple as the meru, axis mundi, mantra mūrti, through abhigamana, pradakṣiṇa, bhūtaśuddhi, tattvanyāsa, vyāpakanyāsa. (Figs.  )

The Indian arts are but so many means prescribed in the traditions for the person to go out of himself/herself to come back to himself/herself, from a divided to a fullness of consciousness.  They provide bridges for experiencing unity through duality, a hermeneutic, circular and homeward journey of the human being for becoming what he/she already is, human. Humanity, unlike that of a flower being a flower or a creeper being a creeper, is not its birth right, but the highest attainment of its civilization, its culture.  Therefore, when scholars like Fergusson, Marshall, Foucher or Bachhofer have tried to interpret Indian art in terms of its formal features, it has been misunderstood, against the Sanskritic tradition, that has inspired it.  This is why we have statements like that of George Birdwood describing the Sarnath Yogi Buddha as “an uninspired, brazen image, vacuously squinting down its nose.  A boiled suet pudding would serve equally well as a symbol of passionate purity and serenity of God”.  This is why Bachhofer, in his Early Indian sculpture, explains the movement of form from Bharhut through Sanchi to Amaravati in terms of formal Wӧlfflinian polarities or Dilthy’s theory of consciousness as a movement from unconsciously unclear, through consciously clear, to consciously unclear.  There is in Birdwood a failure to understand the idea of Buddha in which the body was depicted in loyalty to the concept of pāramitās, the plenitude of heroic ascesis, compassion, fervid love for all creation.  It is a failure in Bachhofer to appreciate the change in visual perception, from Bharhut, keyed to ascetic abstraction, to the suffusing, melting flavor of devotion in Amaravati (Figs.  ).  In the same formulation, the gradual flattening or desiccation of art in India cannot be explained in terms of stylistic changes in external motifs, but, in terms of what Coomaraswamy explains as śithilā samādhitvam or slackening of attention to the inner essence of nature and reality.

 

Multiplicity and Unity:

In its textual dimension, Sanskritic manuscripts have been written in a diversity of regional scripts, a variety of shapes and materials to experts the seminal ideas of the tradition on all arts and science. The manuscripts have been illustrated with narratives, auspicious symbols, and introduced with svastiracana and worshipped (Fig.   ).

There is a constant movement, in Sanskritic tradition, from multiplicity to unity. Recital of music has been compared by the great dancer Bālasarasvatī with a temple in terms of the tradition, as follows: Recital is like a temple. Its outer tower is Alārippu, half way hall jātisvaram, great hall, śabdam; holy sanctum, varṇam, self fulfillment in padam. There, cascading lights are withdrawn, drum beats die down. In tillānā, the final burst of sound takes place and one is alone with God. First, we have metre and melody, and then melody and metre, then music, meaning and metre. Finally, music, meaning without metre. In music itself, there is see saw movement, ascent and descent, from the tonic heart of unstruck, anāhata sound, through primary notes or śrutis, to the crescendo of struck or āhata music. This music widens out and rolls back to sama. The images in the temples explore the circumscribed space around them in a circle, vertically, horizontally, moving from minimum to maximum deviation, searching for the moment of the most dynamic, rapturous balance. The dancers station themselves in the centre, describing a triangle in Bharatanāṭyam, a square in Kathākali, a spiral in Maṇipurī, axial in Kathak. The temple in its ūrdhva and talacchanda, in its praveśas and nirgamas, recesses and processes, rotates around the imaginary, vertical plumbline or brahmasūtra, connecting the centre of the temple with its oculus and crown (Figs.   ). The world appears to be an ever widening circle of hurtling galaxies, held in gravitational balance. Atoms are seen to contain vast regions with electrons moving around nucleus.  This is analogous to the perception of the relation between the human and the divine, in the Sanskritic tradition. As Swami Vivekananda says, “man is an infinite circle, whose circumference is everywhere, centre is in one place. God is an infinite circle, whose circumference is nowhere, centre everywhere. Man becomes God, if he multiplies infinitely his centre of consciousness”. This is why we have the words, Ātmā sarvāntarah. The soul is inside everyone.

 

Union of opposites: Wisdom and Method:

The Apsarās, Nāyikās, Mithunas, Yakṣas, Nāgas are intertwined with other flora and fauna to celebrate the indissoluble union between forces of creation and procreation.  They adorn the body and house of God as alaṁkāra, to incite marriage and fruition between earth and heaven, enacted in the temple after laying of the gnomon in the vāstupuruṣamaṇḍala, through garbhādhānam, prāṇapratiṣṭhā, cakṣurunmīlanam, laying of the womb, lighting of breath, opening of the eye. Agni and Soma, Śiva and Śakti, aham and idam, puruṣa and prakṛti come together in images like Aradhanārīśvara (Figs.  ). Atharvaveda 10.8.27 addresses Brahman: Thou art man, thou art woman, thou art boy, thou maiden (tvam strī tvam pumānasi). As the Ṛgveda has it, in the beginning, there was neither aught nor nought, neither death nor immortality, neither light nor darkness, only chaos indiscrete, in which God lay shrouded.  Then, turning inward, he grew by force of inner fervor and intense abstraction.  First, in his mind, grew desire, the primal germ productive, the first subtle bond connecting entity and nullity. Also, in the Chāndogya Upaniṣad, the one existent, being unhappy alone, created the external world, becoming duplex.  Unhappy divided, like two halves of a split pea, he reintegrated himself.

The regaining of the primordial unity of the person and his nature is expressed in many ways in the Sanskritic tradition as one and many, emanation and resolution, static and kinetic, integration and disintegration, rest and movement, wisdom and method, prajñā and upāya. Cult syncreatic images of Siva and Buddha, Harirara, Martanda Bhairava, Trideva, on the transformation of Siva into Avalokitesvara, its feminization into Kuan-yin in central Asia, into Bhatārā Guru in Southeast Asia articulate the consensual approach of the tradition.  The forms, carved on the body of the temple (Figs.  ), are so many ornamental patterns to make for the sufficiency and adequacy of the temple body for inciting and celebrating union of the male and the female principles.  These forms are differentiated, tactile and plastic, when viewed from proximity (Figs.), but optically integrated into an undifferentiated visual mass, in a distant view (Figs.).  In formal terms of Riegl, the haptic is transformed into optic, with a change in perspective. The best of Indian art has been conceived as differentiated but integrated in yoga, in the intense concentration of a mind, to visualize the iconic symbols in fusion, like a sword blade flickering with the light of distant towers, to feel the thought animating them as immediately as the odour of the rose.  About this process of conception and execution, combining utsāhaśakti with mantraśakti, it is said in Abhilāṣitārthacintāmaṇi 1.3.158: cintayet pramāṇam, taddhyātm bhittau niveśayet. Conceive the attributes in meditation, and then introduce them in a construction.

 

Love and Devotion: Women as Uniting Principle:

The Vedic ṛṣikās study Vedas, compose mantras, make chariots and perform yajñas. Women play a central role in Sanskrit traditions as mother goddesses, sisters, virgins or guardian deities (Figs.  ) for bringing progeny, health and prosperity. She presides over birth and speech of living beings, foundation of temples and their thresholds, cardinal directions and metres, auspicious occasions like kalyāṇotsavas, as saptamatṛkās, adhiṣṭhāna matṛkās, devara devīs, caturbhaginīs, Girijā, Mīnākṣī, Dākṣāyanī, She plays an ambivalent role to punish as also to provide bounty. She dispenses śasya and oṣadhipātras, pots of herbs and medicines, as bhūdevī. As Cāmuṇḍā, she sports in lakes of blood. She has been the patron goddess for initiation in devadāsi cult and dacoity, for marginalized bāul singers, fishermen and boatmen. She protects the village as grāmadevatā, in her āmmān or maternal mutations. Mother goddesses are worshiped throughout rural India to sanctify rites of passage, and illustrate seasonal and work rhythms through vrata diagrams (Figs.  ) or bhūmiśobhā floor paintings, kohbar wall drawings, nāgamaṇḍalas and kathās. She undergoes metamorphosis in Buddhism as Ugra, Ekajatā, Mahācīna, Nīlasarasvatī, Tārā in Tibet and East Asia. Martial arts, hymns, spirit dances are dedicated to her. Lakṣmī adorns saughāgyapaṭṭa, the auspicious, luminous forehead of the temple door. In Madhubanī art in Bihar, the lotus, joined by a bamboo shaft, symbolizes union of Haragaurī. Śiva and Śakti coexist in the androgenous Ardhanārīśvara (Figs.  ) form.

Women appear as Nayikās, Apsarās, Yakṣīs (Figs.  ), to adorn the temple body. They are shown applying vermilion and collyrium, rinsing hair, throwing ball, tying belt, extracting thorn. In rāgamālā paintings, the woman is shown in different stages of union or separation, in agony or ecstasy. In the poetic conceit of dohada or pregnancy longing, trees release their pent up flowering at the quick glance or touch of a lovely girl, while her nubile form expands in adolescence or passion. (Figs.     ) In Kṛṣṇalīlā paintings, Kṛṣṇa is shown wrapped in fine silk cloth, like a dark lotus root, swathed in yellow pollen, while Rādhā is shown as a smouldering beauty with dark eyes. Fair Rādhā and dark Kṛṣṇa together look like lightning on storm cloud, sable night, streaked with clusters of light. Gopīs seemingly become harlots, to leave their husbands, to meet Kṛṣṇa, who multiplies himself and dances with one and all in Lakṣmī temple, Orchhā in Central India. This tryst of the soul with the unconditioned, at the call of the infinite, transcends time and necessity. It has been celebrated in some of the most delicate compositions, illustrating Jayadeva’s Gītagovinda, or Keśavadāsa’s Rasikapriyā.

The multiplicity of names and roles given to the women in the Sanskritic tradititon provides a corrective backdrop to their marginalisation, commoditization and harassment in modern society.  As developing countries are being domesticated into a global knowledge society, women are being reduced to backroom functions for servicing it, at paltry wages, as primary workers in sweat shops. Their continuing role as defenders, collectors and propagators of food, fodder, greens, tubers, arts and bio cultural diversity needs to recognised in the light of their all encompassing role as personified principles of wisdom and compassion in the Sanskritic traditions.  These traditions can help create a more gender inclusive approach to enlarge the space of women’s rights. This will help correct the patriarchal, hegemonic language used by a technifying, occidental civilzation vis a vis the Orient. One recalls the language of insemination and supersession used by Hegel, who compared Indian art with the wan beauty of a woman after child birth. One also remembers Paul Hacker’s suggestion about the logos seed being barren in Indian soil, which can bear fruit only when transplanted to soil, fertilized by Judeo Christian streams of thought.  The idea of woman as the Magna Mater, as a pervasive principle of creation and procreation, can help exorcise the negative approach towards women as objects of entertainment and marketing strategies.

 

Cultural Landscapes: Convergence of Sacred and Profane:

The sacred and profane, the physical and mental landscapes (Figs.  ), the amphitheatre of the earth and the heaven converge in Sanskrit tradition through rites of exorcism, propitiation, sympathetic or apotropaic magic, benediction and regeneration, sacrifice and renewal. India is united by the myriad oral and written versions of the Mahābhārata and Rāmāyaṇa which are enacted, recited, painted and carved across languages, castes, creeds, cults and ethnic groups. The idea of anṛśaṅsya, non violence and tṛṣṇākṣayasukha, the bliss of desiressness, integrates the diverse differences of the tradition in its vernacular expressions. The laukika, gārhastya, kula and varṇāsrama dharmas distinguished by Rāmāyaṇa, pervade its regional versions in the entire country.  Names of places, cultural heroes, men and women, water bodies, rivers and mountains are named after the epic nomenclatures. Epic landscapes are further narrativized in the complex orality of local dramas, dance and music. All human and natural resource strategies of the country, including sacred groves and water harvesting structures, are governed by terms of management, equity, efficiency and economy, which are culturally rooted in the Sanskritic tradition. The water harvesting structures are governed by principles like minimum interference, maximum impounding. There are mss. like Viśvavallabha in Ballav maṭh library, Nathdwārā, Jalabindu, Jalavāhana, Jaladīpikā, in city library,  Amsterdam, which provide principles for regulating direction, flow, volume of waters. Atharvaveda 12 invokes mother earth to yield water to those of pure conduct and to punish water polluters. Sacred groves house shrines and location specific approaches of preserving the gene pool of rare and vanishing plants. They are protected by taboos and prescriptions, sanctioned by ceremonials and rituals, derived from a blend of Sanskritic and local traditions.

The Himalayan range is seen in this perception of the sacred nature of earth, as an umbilical cord connecting the earth and the heaven. Mount Everest, Nandā devī are seen as mother goddesses. Demajong in Sikkim is seen as a land of sacred treasures, hidden by Padmasambhava, who carried the massage of Buddha across the Himalaya. Kārttikeya is reputed to have split open the Himalayan pass, krauñcadwara, the magnum foramen in the divine body, at Kailāśa.  The mahāsiddhas, dhyānībuddhas, pañcarakṣā goddesses, arhats, jātakas, gandharvas, nāgas, the peregrinations of gods and goddesses and their exploits in Sanskrit lore, are associated with the Himalayas. Itinerant story tellers, śoubhikas, have carried narrative paṭṭas and scrolls, while lotsavās or intercultural translators like Kumārajīva, Atīśa Dīpaṅkara, Bodhidharma, Sāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla have travelled across the Himalayas, explaining Sanskritic traditions of unity of humanity and compassion.

In Central India, the Sānci stūpa is surrounded by ruins of hundreds of stūpas. The stūpas provide, in their voluted architraves, toraṇas, prototypes of pictorial scrolls, unfolded earlier in yakkha, caitya, stūpa, chuḍā, sāgara, Indra mahas, festivals of guardian deities, tumuli, hairlocks, sea etc.  The entire landscape was permeated by the idea of Buddha. The city of Ujjayini witnessed the simultaneous creation of works on enjoyment and renunciation like Śṛṅgāraśatakā and Vairāgyaśataka, Caturbhāṇī texts like Padmaprābhṛtakam, Pādatāḍitakam. It is conceived as a sacred landscape, traversed by Śiprā. Sipra is seen as a companion of Mṛtyuñjaya Śiva and as Gaṅgā or ambumayī mūrtī of Śiva in the Mahākālakṣetra. The land of Mahākāla is pregnant with the idea of the therapeutic self release, inundation and cleansing of waters, of which bhasmārati or worship of Mahākāla, by lustration of ashes, is a symbol. The city is conceived as amṛtasya nābhi, equivalent to the maṇipura cakra in the piṇḍaśarīra, the human body and the solar meridian of the Brahmāṇda, the body of the universe. River Narmadā is hailed by Saṅkarācārya as Jīvajantutantubhukti- muktidāyakam, narmade, dharmade, śarmade, marmade, nirmade, niṣkarmade. The river is dotted with piligrimage sites, temples and houses of meditation, and prehistoric habitats which have witnessed spiritual excursions, efflorescence of civilizations and a ceaseless surge of creative activity. The hill at Oṁkāreśwar is compared with the Jyotirliṅga, Aum or Praṇavaliṅga, rimmed by jalahari, formed by the twin sacred rivers, Narmadā and Kāverī. 

In Central India, in Tattvaprakāśa and Śṛṅgāraprakāśa, King Bhoja Paramāra explains his ideas on the need for aligning architectural knowledge and knowledge of śāstras, by incorporating abhimāna, self esteem, as the only rasa. He engages himself in a creative pursuit for uniting sound and meaning and demonstrating the release of paśu from pāśas by union with Śiva as Pati. Bhoja tries to realize the idea of paśupāśavimokṣaṇa by constructing sacred precincts of the Bhojpur temple, surrounded by an embankment on an immense waterbody, created along Kaliāsot river in Betwā source region. Seen by some as a svargārohaṇa prāsāda or a commemorative shrine, Bhojpur temple is surrounded by a rocky terrain with hundreds of mason marks and preliminary drawings or hastalekhās. Adjacent to the temple is also the atiśayakṣetra with śaśvatacaityas, dedicated to Jaina Tīrthaṅkaras. The ideas of self negation and detachment, harmony and comprehension, brought about this organic linkage between the physical landscape and mindscape. The Jaina diagrammatic representations of Śrī siddhe, Bṛhad siddhe cakras, Nandiśvara on Jambudvīpa, sammet Śikhara, Samavasarana embody sacred landscape. (Figs.  )  Like many sacred cities of the country, Puri in Orissa is celebrated in several Purāṇas and Sthalapurāṇas, as Puruṣottamakṣetra. It is connected with the spiritual journey of the devotee to meet God in udvāsanam. The surrounding landscape is ideally traversed through 12 main yātrās. The king ruled as the vice regent of the lord and the Jagannatha triad has been acknowledged as their own in Buddhist, Jaina, Brāhmin and tribal Śabara persuasions.  The influence of the Jagannātha cetanā cult has been pervasive, so much so that the 16th century Muslim poet Sālabega hailed the Lord as katiādhana, the dark darling. Texts like Śāradātilaka, Spandakārikā, Kramadīpikā, Gopālārcanavidhi provide a background to theory and practice that animate this cultural landscape. The sacred vibrations in the landscape are renewed from time to time by providing navakalevara, a new body, to the dārubrahma, the wooden image of God. The mādlāpañjis have preserved, in the local dialect, a history of this landscape and its custodians. 

The so called tribal belt of Dakṣiṇakośala in the present states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa is pervaded by stories of Naṅgābaigā, Barādev, Mahādeva, Aṅgādev, Liṅgodev, who are analogous forms of Śiva and Paśupati. Naṅgābaigā and Naṅgābaigin are akin to Mahādeva and Pārvatī. The folklore is closely connected with the legends of Lakulīśa and his four disciples, with Śiva as the primal hero of music, fertility and cultivation, presiding over ancestral and impregnation rites for the earth. The Somasiddhāntin or Pāśupata concepts comprise traditions of heterodoxy, dissidence and nature worship. These are closely connected with tribal cults of Sāmant, Kādā, Mahādevī sarnās or sacred Tutelary gods of crops, household hearths, pastoralism, hills and hunting preside over the sacred landscape. All local animals figure not only in forests, totemic designs in tribal houses and rituals, but also in Brahminical deities, temples and inscriptions of Deepadih, Tala. Folk and tribal vrata diagrams, nagamandalas represent sacred, impregnable precincts as apotropaic mental altose. (Figs.  ), Sirpur, Maheshpur. The pristine orality and prescriptive texts converge to create a cultural landscape in which there is no boundary and no sense of priority, superiority or anteriority in folk, tribal or classical arts or pantheon.

In South India, the Tamil land is divided into eco cultural provinces according to their geological situations, flora, fauna and deities since saṅgam days and earlier. The eco cultured demarcation of the landscape links with the traditional division in poetry, in akam and puram, love and war, secular and sacred. Thoniāppār, the lord of Siyāli, presides over Kumbhakoṇam, and provides an equivalent of Noah’s Ark, to protect flora, fauna, surviving from a deluge, in the sacred, inviolable boat, Thom. 

 

Co-existence as alternative to Co-annihilation:

The Sanskritic tradition offers, in this manner, a theory of restitutio integrum, to enable us to recover the shared life, vibration and purpose of discrete phenomena. This longing to commune with nature is not, as suggested by Hegel, an attempt to finitize the divine or divinize the finite, nor to force nature and humanity to assume each other’s forms.  Nor is this, as seen by Marx, a perverse, fetishistic exchange to drain humanity of its life and lend it to objects.  Nor, for that matter, as Freud would have it, is this a dream image emerging from para normal, psychic states.  This is part of a philosophy, carefully constructed after the manner of nature’s operation, to help humanity to define itself, as not what it is actually, but what it is potentially, and to exchange its role of lord of beings for that of shepherd and sounding board of the Being.  All organic and inorganic communities come together in Indian arts, in a process of eugenics, hygiene and proliferation in the universe, conceived as a family of nāmas and rūpas, names and forms, which are united in friendly commerce with gods.  To quote Heidegger, who questioned the dissociation of nature and culture within the western tradition and looked at the eastern tradition for its renewal, “mortals dwell in the unified fourfold play of the earth and heaven, gods and mortals, to save and not master the earth or wear it out.  They receive sky as sky and do not turn night into day, nor day into harassed unrest; they wait for the intimations of the coming of the divinity and do not mistake the signs of their absence.  They initiate their own nature, being capable of death as death.  Dwelling in this manner, Heidegger says, quoting Hӧlderlin, man dwells poetically (Martin Heidegger 1950-51, Poetry, Language and Thought, Harper and Row, New York, 227-229).

 

The Discourse:

The first segment addresses this discourse by presenting the validity, continuity and sustainability of the Sanskrit tradition as an alternative to an unsustainable human approach to civilization. It explores Sanskrit as the basis of a universal language, a fulcrum of a multi cultural society and polity, acceptance of the life enhancing truths of diverse belief systems, for India as well as the world (Indra Nath Choudhary). Based on caring and sharing, mutual sustenance and regard, the inclusive, humanistic tradition of Sanskrit provides an antidote to the malice of greed and violence, besetting the contemporary world (Gaya Charan Tripathi). It provides an ecological conspectus for sustainable development, respectful of thresholds of nature (Anand Burdhan). It is based on the dialogical tradition of Śāstrārtha variously designated as Vāda, Brahmodya, through which clash of tradition and modernity can be resolved, permitting the society to evolve and adopt itself to changing contexts. It provides a fine honed instrument for dispute resolution and reconciliation in a world riven by differences. It exemplifies Francis Bacon’s statement, “out of clash of errors truth emerges” (Radhavallabh Tripathi).  In terms of Nyāyaśāstra, it is rational, willing to subject knowledge to the test of falsifiability, eudemonistic rather than pessimistic, being directed to alleviation of misery caused by nescience (Ajay Mishra).  The structural analysis of Pāṇini and the metaphysical, semantic analysis by Bhratṛhari are part of a continuous grammatical tradition, which opens the door to development of language universals for bridging word and meaning and for resolving dichotomies in human psyche (Dipti S. Tripathi). It provides an easily negotiable bridge to the use of multimedia tools, with enhanced retention levels, in its inclusive, interdisciplinary, inter generational, reiterative, transmission modes of teaching and learning (Pratapanand Jha). It questions the theocentric, monistic, anthropocentric, Abrahamic postulates of dichotomy of science and religion, man and universe, subject and object of knowledge, and absolutist teleology of linear progress. It provides a cyclic view of evolution, a theory of co evolutionary interdependence of nature and culture, mutual involvement of the human and divine, identity and difference, a normative order of duty for collective good rather than a formal order of individual legal rights (Kapil Kapoor).

The second segment of the volume explores the various ways in which the alternative theory and practice of the Sanskrit tradition have evolved in India.The tradition is both rational and intuitive, conservative and radically interpretative, with ramifications through a succession of ācāryas and textual recensions, and manifold dissemination of Nigamas from Āgamas. This convergence of centripetal and centrifugal elements of cognition and application continue till this day (Vijay Shankar Shukla). It has avoided fragmentation, objectification, instrumentalisation and commodification of knowledge by uniting śāstra and prayoga, arts and sciences (via contemplativa and via affirmativa) (Sudhir Lall). It provides an encompassing philosophy of language in which time and motion, past, future and present are related both integrally and differentially. Together, they conceal and reveal the same principle in diverse manifestations. The Kāla and Śabdatattva provide an approach for acknowledging the diverse differences in the same person or the cyclic changes in its manifestations (Ganesh Prasad Panda). It celebrates Yajña as a uniquely constructive way of living in the world by sacrificing destructive passions and obsessions with senses and sense objects, attachment to fruits of action and ignorance about the true end of life (Narayan Dutt Sharma).  It enshrines the concept of Tīrthas for fording the sacred and profane by sanctifying cities, mountains and rivers as Kṣetras or holy abodes of the supreme principle in its diverse manifestations. It provides a corrective to the attitude responsible for pollution and desecration of environment today (Sushma Jatoo). Continuity of identity and ancestral memory is maintained through records preserved in several tīrthas all over India including Mithila (Kumar Sanjay Jha). A number of such Tīrthas in Kashmir are listed in the Nīlamata Purāṇa and Bhṛṅgīśa saṁhitā. Valuable literary, mystic, spiritual and historical traditions preserved in Vedic, Pāñcarātra saṁhitās, Śaiva and Śākta texts, versions of Rājataraṅgiṇī, Mokṣopāya/Yogavāsiṣṭha, Buddhist Vibhāsas, Śilpaśāstras await regeneration. They are symptomatic of the many streams of learning and research in the Sanskrit tradition, which have dried up and need to be revitalized for re animating cultural and mental landscapes, which transcend political or administrative boundaries (Advaitavadini Kaul).  The tradition is also unique in glorifying the human body as the Madhyamaṇḍala, Mukhyacakra, the Liṅga, the main seat, sign and prototype of the supreme being, which can be adorned by Mudrā for inciting Bimba Pratibimba bhāva and Pratibimbodaya, i.e., for inciting the sense of identity between the body and the universe. Mudrā is articulated through hastas, sthānakas, piṇḍibandhas codified in the Nāṭyaśāstra and analogous traditions in a semiology and ontology of gestures. It evokes the joy of faith and communion through integration of the fragmented self in a process of blissful self fulfillment. The Cinmaya, symbolic nature of Mudrā is fundamental to Āgamic, Tāntric rituals and iconology (Kamalesh Dutt Tripathi). The comprehensive nature of Rājadharma or kingly obligation based on the respect for trivarga, commitment to the maintenance of maryādā or discipline, protection and welfare of the people has been discussed in detail in the Śānti, Sabhā and Vanaparvans of the Mahābhārata. This obligation limits royal sovereignty, as the symbol of state authority, encompassing all walks of life (Sujatha Reddy). An ancient precursor of the nexus between the king, state and the people is provided in the Indradhavjamaha or festival of the banner of Indra described in Vedic Saṁhitās and sutras, Brāhmaṇas, Mahābhārata, Nāṭyaśāstra and Purāṇas, Buddhist texts and dramas in different religious traditions. Worshipped in the form of a bamboo pole or a Jarjara, the staff of Indra represents the victory of the Suras over Asuras, good over evil, essential to royal obligation and sovereignty (R. Sathyanarayana).

The third segment of the volume charts the diaspora of the alternative, syncretistic approaches developed by the Sanskrit tradition from India to South, Southeast, East and Central Asia. this diaspora has been steered by Brahmin Gurus, Asoka’s emissaries, Buddhist and Jaina monks. It has been articulated in propagation of Dharma as per Paurāṇi prakṛti, syncretism of orthodox and heterodox cults, epic devotionalism, blend of theory and practice, achieved in local variant of Āgamas and Nigamas, and in deification of ancestors in memorial shrines The Bangkok manuscript used by the Rajaguru of Thailand during the Swing festival, the Jaina Pratiṣṭhātilaka used for consecrating the South Indian temple, it through a succession of teachers, the Buddhacarita, amplified by Āgamic and Puranic acknowledgement of Buddha as an avatāra of Viṣṇu, have provided several planks for active cross fertilization of the Indian and South Asian traditions (R Nagaswamy). In the Perso Islamic and Turko Mongol world of Central Asia, Indian learning, transmitted in Sanskrit, became part of the Ilm, the acquisition of which was laid down in the Quranic injunction. The tradition was transmitted through translations done by great scholars like Al-Biruni. Indian medical sciences, political and moral catechisms, astronomy and mathematics shaped Central Asian thought in a manner which remains to be properly acknowledged (Mansura Haidar).  The silk route became an artery for a flow of commerce and for Sanskrit traditions through Chinese, Tibetan, Uigur, Turkic, Sogdian, Khotanese, Tokharian and Kuchean translations.  Great monastic libraries buried under sand have yielded Sanskrit texts and translations done by Lotsavās or inter cultural translators like Xuan Zang, Itsing, Pao Chang, Kumārajīva, Bodhidharma. The northern Brāhmī gave rise to the Siddhamatṛkā script in Central Asia. The southern Brāhmī was transmitted through Pallava Grantha script to South East Asia. Sanskritic lore became part of the code of conduct of sage kings of Central and East Asia. Sanskrit traditions shaped rituals for royal consecration, theory of state and administration, cultural geography, educational and social organization of Asia with appropriate ethnic inputs (Shashibala).  The Khmer Sdok Kak Thom inscription in Cambodia illustrates the way the ritual of Śivaliṅga Mahābhiṣeka was transmitted from India to South East Asia and used by Devarāja cult for anointment of Śiva and king, and for legitimation of royal authority (Bachchan Kumar).

 

An Exhibition of Ideas:

The exhibition offers a display of the Vedic theory and practice of sacrifice through ritual objects. The Vedic altar, the human body, the temple, the cakra, maṇḍala, sacred landscapes are theatres for the symbolic reenactment of the primordial drama of interaction of fire and water, food and feeder, birth and death, masculine and feminine, nature and culture, emanation and resolution. They embody the idea of a coincidentum oppositorum, the polymorphous monotheism of a singular, universal essence, the convergence of gati, motion, centrifugal, pravṛtta initially, nivṛtta, centripetal, finally. They are sites for the sacrifice of the little self of the puppet to the great self of the proffeteer the Apthoryāma samayāga, Mahāmastakābhiṣekam of Bāhubali, the Mahākumbha, the journey of Gaṅgā from Mukhbā to Gaṅgotri are dedicated to the ceremonies of sacrifice, consecration and water cosmology.  The Sanskritic tradition which animates the idea of the exhibition is a continuing project of lending efficacy to the pristine natural operations for ensuring their effective future recurrence, as against the project to violate, degrade and exploit nature.

 

To step back to step forward:

Sanskrit studies the world over have enormously enriched indology through comparative philology, through translations, interpretations, concordances, surveys, investigations of authorship, textual ramifications and etymology. Study of the Sanskritic traditions from within has to, however, go on simultaneously for it to grow and contribute to global thought. There is a need, in terms of Rājaśekhara’s Kāvyamīmāṁsā, to unite bhāvayitrī and kārayitrī pratibhās, and reread knowledge and ecology wisdom traditions, preserved in these traditions, for contemporary adaptation and application.  It is inappropriate that a tradition which bred all streams of thought and replenished all branches of learning and applications through āgamas and nigamas, should now dry up in a desert of speculative interpretation and laborious reconstruction, without any practical objective of equilibrating, correcting and bringing the traditions forward for acknowledging and questioning premises in modern disciplines. The pāṭhas, prātiśākhyas, the paraphernalia of textual criticism have often been harnessed in search of an authentic core, in what are regarded as palimpsestual Sanskrit textual traditions.  This ignores the layers of history which have accumulated through time and reflect historical changes in the understanding of the tradition. It also excludes the vast orality based on Sanskritic traditions but available today only in local scripts and unscripted oral narratives.  It is necessary to enrich the plurality that takes off from the essential core of the traditions, moving beyond logocentrism, and correcting the amnesia and aphasia, loss of memory and speech, which have overtaken the oral and local variations of the Sanskritic tradition. It is necessary to remember that the sahṛdaya and sāmājika temperament is not confined to classicising discourses.  The sthalipulakanyāya of judging by a few specimens is not the approach to be adopted with regard to the Sanskritic traditions, which must be retrieved and renewed from nontextual as well as local, ‘subaltern’ sources, which may be as ancient or older than the classical core. The taphonomic logic suggests that absence of evidence is not evidence of vital elements in tradition. These elements can be retrieved, regenerated and retold for future by correcting the research bias.

It is time that we work together the world over is to recover the life enhancing elements of the Sanskritic tradition, by going through and beyond the dṛṣṭa, śruta, kṛta and prokta paths for their comprehension. We have to acknowledge and transcend the obsession with genealogy of codices, the pursuit of hyper archetypal copies or the bio phylogenetic, digital, philological analysis of texts, on an interactive global platform. We have to step back, to recover the luminous understanding in this tradition, about the interdependence of all beings. We can then step forward, from paranoia to metanoia, from intransigent, belligerent, tribe conscious solitarism to a species conscious world, with multiple cores and peripheries. Open minded, multivocal, polyphonic at a conscious, critical level, the Sanskritic traditions constitute a single serial structure with defined boundaries on an inspirational and intuitive level. We may act like bees, to collect juices from diverse trees, to assemble them in unity (Uddālaka Āruṇi dialogue, Chāndogya Upanisad 6.1 ff). Tasyai tapo damaḥ karmeti pratiṣṭhā vedāh sarvāṅgāni satyamāyatanam. Penance discipline, work, knowledge, truth are the essence of such a project for understanding. We have to move out of an immersive engagement with the manipulation of allegory, trope, metaphor or heterotopic inflation of contentious discourse, to recover the unity of mythos and logos, conceptual and perceptual, representational and nonrepresentational action and contemplation, implicit in the language of the tradition (Brahma dṛṅha, kṣatram dṛnha, Yajurveda 6.3). It will help us move out of an exclusively cognitive world view in which the human being inhabits a universe, empty of personality and considers himself/herself competent to construct himself/herself and the society by deliberate design. It will unite us in vibhūtiyoga, to bind humanity in friendship (Ṛgveda 10.71.1.2), and promote happiness, health, wide room for all in this beloved world, here and now (Atharvaveda 30.17, Ṛgveda 9.84.1).

The Sanskritic tradition should be read in the unfolding backdrop of non linear mathematics, fluid mechanics, high energy physics, isomorphism of verbal and genetic codes. It should be renewed in the light of the growing perception of the world as a web of relationships, in which the Newtonian theory of simple location and individuality of bits of matter, independent of external relation, is giving way to the concept of what physical entities throughout the universe mean for those regions (Alfred North Whitehead 1960, Adventures of Ideas, New York, Mentor). It should be celebrated and read forward into the future in the light of the belated realization in science, that hidden worlds connect to the things that hide them, tide pools connect with unfathomable seas, which connect with our chromosomes (Roger Rosenblalt, Time Magazine, May 2000). Theory has come to the fore when it has become necessary to ask of this Sanskritic tradition what it said, because on has forgotten what it did. Theory has to reinvent itself to road the sophire perennis, the universal dialect of this tradition. It has to attempt a homoisis to return the intuitin understanding of reality in this tradition from repetitive formulae and from the grip of sacerdotal semioticians, divining authorial intention, on behalf of a lay congregation, in a temple of entelechy. It has to read the tradition to recover its meaning, salvage it as a constitutive and corrective element in contemporary civilisation.

 

A Self Renewal:

In a hermeneutic, circular movement from the past to the whole, from present to the past, from one tradition to another, the Sanskritic tradition will be completed rather than depleted. It will be based on cross cultural, trans disciplinary dialogue, based on understanding and realization rather than mere argument and ratiocination. With a mutual fecundation of horizons, ‘the same line will no longer be the same. What is to come will not be a future present. And, yesterday will not be a past present (Jacques Derrida, 1978, Writing and Difference: Trans. from French – University of Chicago Press: 1978:26, 28, 292-3, 296,300). We reiterate the Vedic message which accepts change and experiments for harnessing themis to dike, the social to the natural order (navyam jāyatām ṛtam, let the new truth grows. Ṛgveda 1.105.15.). The announcement sā saṁskṛti prathamā Viśvavārā is a call to go back to the beginnings of the Sanskritic tradition, for unlocking it as the source of untold blessings and bounty.

 

CONCLUDING REMARKS:

Over last two decades, space scientists, notably Rick Briggs of NASA Research Center, working on Artificial Intelligence have expended time and energy on designing an unambiguous representation of natural languages to make them accessible to computer processing. They almost came to a finding that natural languages were unsuitable for the transmission of many ideas that artificial languages could render with great precision and mathematical rigour, till they discovered that there was at least one language, namely Sanskrit, that had an inbuilt method of paraphrasing in a manner that was identical not only in essence but in form with current work in Artificial Intelligence. Rick Briggs in his article ‘Sanskrit & Artificial Intelligence – NASA’ demonstrates that “a natural language can serve as an artificial language also, and that much work in AI has been reinventing a wheel millennia old.”

In the backdrop of hypothetic common origin of proto-Indo-European-Persian languages, the question that defies any satisfactory explanation is how Sanskrit language developed in ancient India as more perfect, copious and more exquisitely refined than other contemporary languages, even though it cannot be said with authority that Greek, Roman and Persian civilizations lacked in vigour, cultural resources or talent as compared to their Indian counterparts. There is also no evidence in support of the conjecture that Vedic Sanskrit was the offshoot of the cultural and linguistic inter-mixing among the Greeks, Roman and the Persians who might have migrated in large number from their climatically hostile territories to more hospitable land in India in search of a better pasture, all the more so when those western as also the Persian civilizations reached their height during the early and late Vedic periods. There ought to be a better explanation as to why space scientists of NASA along with those involved in researches in artificial intelligence find Sanskrit, an ancient and practically a dead language, as the most suited for science for its grammatical and phonetical superiority over other current natural languages. 

Thus, given the fact that Sanskrit in India was evidently much more developed than the Gothick, Celtick and Persian languages, when all those civilizations were in their primacy, it may be permissible to infer that Sanskrit may not have shared a common origin with all those languages even though it was distinctly possible that those contemporary civilizations came in close contact with one another as a result of which some Sanskrit words may have been added to their vocabulary. It is also possible that Gothick, Celtick and Persian languages were considerably influenced by Sanskrit. By way of illustration, some Greek, Latin, Arabic, Persian and Proto-Germanic words along with corresponding English words with Sanskrit root are given below.

Illustration of English/Greek/Latin/Arabic/Persian/Proto-Germanic words with Sanskrit Roots:

Root Sanskrit Word

Median Word in Latin(L) / Greek(G) / Arabic(A)

Derived English Word

Gau (meaning Cow)

Bous (G)

Cow

Matr (meaning Mother)

Mater (L)

Mother

Jan (meaning Generation)

Genea (G)

Gene

Aksha (meaning Axis)

Axon (G)

Axis

Navagatha (meaning Navigation)

Navigationem (L)

Navigation

Sarpa (meaning Snake)

Serpentem (L)

Serpent

Naas (means Nose)

Nasus (L)

Nose

Anamika (means Anonymous)

Anonymos (G)

Anonymous

Naama (means Name)

Nomen (L)

Name

     

Ashta (meaning Eight)

Octo (L)

Eight

Barbara (meaning Foreign)

Barbaria (L)

Barbarian

Dhama (meaning House)

Domus (L)

Domicile

Danta (meaning Teeth)

Dentis (L)

Dental

Dwar (meaning Door)

Doru

Door

Dasha (meaning Ten)

Deca (G)

Deca

Madhyam (meaning Medium)

Medium (L)

Medium

Kaal (meaning Time)

Kalendae (L)

Calendar

Kri (meaning To Do)

Creatus (L)

Create

Mishra (meaning Mix)

Mixtus (L)

Mix

Ma (meaning Me/My)

Me (L)

Me

Pithr (meaning Father)

Pater (L)

Father

Bhrathr (meaning Brother)

Phrater (G)

Brother

Loka (meaning Place)

Locus (L)

Locale

Maha (meaning Great)

Magnus (L)

Mega

     

Makshikaa (meaning Bee)

Musca (L) (Meaning Fly)

Mosquito

Mrta (meaning Dead)

Mortis (L)

Murder

Na (meaning No)

Ne

No

Nakta (meaning Night)

Nocturnalis (L)

Nocturnal

Paad (meaning Foot)

Pedis (L)

Ped as in Pedestrial, Pedal etc

Pancha (meaning Five)

Pente (G)

Penta, Five

Parah (meaning Remote)

Pera (G)

Far

Patha (meaning Path)

Pathes (G)

Path

Raja / Raya (meaning King)

Regalis (L)

Royal

Sama (meaning Similar)

Similis (L)

Similar

Sapta (meaning Seven)

Septum (L)

Seven

Sharkara (meaning Sugar)

Succarum

Sugar / Sucrose

Smi (meaning Smile)

Smilen (L)

Smile

SthaH (meaning Situated)

Stare (L) (meaning To Stand)

Stay

Svaad (meaning Tasty)

Suavis (L)

Sweet

Tha (meaning That)

Talis (L)

That

Tva (meaning Thee)

Dih

Thee

Vachas (meaning Speech)

Vocem (L)

Voice

Vahaami (meaning Carry)

Vehere (L)

Vehicle

Vama / Vamati (meaning Vomit)

Vomere (L)

Vomit

Vastr (meaning Cloth)

Vestire (L)

Vest

Yauvana (meaning Youth)

Juvenilis (L)

Juvenile

Narangi (meaning Orange)

Naranj

Orange

Pippali (meaning Pepper)

Piperi (G)

Pepper

Chandana (meaning Sandalwood)

Santalon (G)

Sandalwood

Chandra (meaning Moon)

Candela (L) (meaning light / torch)

Candle

Chatur (meaning Four)

Quartus (L)

Quarter

Shunya (meaning Zero)

Cipher (A)

Zero

a (prefix meaning “not” ex: gochara – agochara)

a (L)(G) (prefix meaning “not”)

a (prefix meaning “not” ex: theiest-atheist

an (prefix meaning “not” ex: avashya – anavashya)

un (L)(G) (prefix meaning “not”)

un (prefix meaning “not” ex: do-undo

Arjuna (meaning Charm of Silver)

Argentinum (L)

Argentinum – Scientific Name of Silver

Nava (meaning New)

Novus (L)

Nova – New

Kafa (meaning Mucus)

Coughen

Cough

Mithya (meaning Lie)

Mythos (G)

Myth

Thri (meaning Three)

Treis (G)

Three

Mush (meaning Mouse)

Mus (L)

Mouse

Maragadum (meaning Emerald)

Smaragdus (L)

Emerald

Ghritam (meaning Ghee)

??

Ghee

Srgalah (meaning Jackal)

Shagal (Persian)

Jackal

Nila (meaning Dark Blue)

Nilak (Persian)

Lilac

Srgalah

Shagal (Persian)

Jackal

     

Upalah (meaning Precious Stone)

Opalus (L)

Opal

     

Upalah (meaning Precious Stone)

Opalus (L)

Opal

Barbar (meaning stammering)

Barbaros (G)

Barbarian

Jaanu (meaning knee)

Genu (L)

Knee

Sunu (meaning Son or Offspring)

Sunu (German)

Son

Ghas (meaning eat)

Grasa (German)

Grass

Samiti (meaning Committee)

committere (L)

Committee

Sama (meaning Same)

Samaz (Proto Germanic)

Same

Lubh (meaning Desire)

 

Lubo (Latin and Proto Germanic)

Love

Agni (meaning Fire)

Ignis (L)

Ignite

Hrt (meaning Heart)

Herto (Proto Germanic)

Heart

Yaana (meaning journey, wagon)

Wagen (German)

Van, Wagon

Nara (meaning Nerve)

Nervus (L)

Nerve, Nervous

They (th pronounced as in thunder, meaning they)

Dei (Germanic)

They

 

As for the pronounced suitability of Sanskrit to pass for the language of science, scholars refer to the concept of zero prevailing in Sanskrit which was absent in other contemporary languages. To be precise, in Roman script the number 1000 was written as M (Millennium), 2000 as MM, 10,000 as ten times M, and so on. In Sanskrit, 1000 was written as such and known as Sahasra, ten thousand as 1 Ajut, 1 lakh as laksha, 10 lakhs as 1Nijut, 1 crore as Koti, 100 crores as 1 Arab, 100 Arabs as 1 Kharab, 100 Kharabs as 1 Neel, 100 Neels as 1 Padma, 100 Padmas as 1 Shankh, 100 Shankhs as 1 Mahashankh and 100 Mahashankhs as 1 followed by 19 zeros. Such concept of zero as also description of number with 19 zeros was absent in other contemporary languages.

Another advantage of Sanskrit over other ancient and modern scripts/languages was its precision by way combining two or multiple words into a single word having the effect of substituting a sentence with a single word. The use of Visarga or cologne at the end of a word changing its meaning is another feature that contributes to precision, and is absent in other languages. As for example, let us take the single word –  सूर्यकोटिसमप्रभः (Suryakotisamaprabhah) which combines 4 words, viz. Surya (Sun), Koti (Crore), Sama (Equivalent to) and Prabhah (Effulgence), meaning in totality “one whose effulgence is equivalent to that of a crore suns”. Thus it can be seen that what takes 11 words in English has been described in just one single word in Sanskrit in the given example. It is also noteworthy that by using a Visarga (:) at the end of the Sanskrit word:  सूर्यकोटिसमप्रभ, the properties have been changed into an object. In other words, in the absence of the Visarga, the meaning of the word would have been suggestive of a property, i.e. –‘effulgence equivalent to that of a crore suns’. By putting the Visarga ( : ) at the end of the word, the meaning of the word is changed to an object/subject, i.e. “one whose effulgence is equivalent to that of a crore suns”.  The Visarga in the given example has substituted following three English words: “One whose” and “is”. It is thus demonstrated how Sanskrit would ensure precision.

The other advantage of Sanskrit vis-a-vis English, currently the most popular computer language, is that sentences in Sanskrit do not necessitate vowels like in English.

There was a time when under British rule Sanskrit together with sanskriti were made to give way for English education under economic compulsion artificially created by the British Raj, as no job was on offer for a Sanskrit-literate person except handful teaching jobs, while knowledge of English was made a pre-condition for employment even to clerical posts. India bade good bye to Sanskrit as its hidden strength was yet to be unfolded. The day may not be far off when advancement of Information Technology and artificial intelligence may compel reinstatement of Sanskrit, the language of the past, as the language of the future replacing English.

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